The endocrine system is a complex and vital system for your overall well-being. Hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, adrenaline, and insulin, are important chemical messengers that work to maintain homeostasis in many aspects of your health. When one or more of these hormones are even slightly imbalanced it can cause widespread health problems.
Signs that you may have an imbalance:
- Infertility and/or irregular periods
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Low libido
- Changes in appetite
- Digestive issues
- Hair loss and hair thinning
Some of the more specific problems relating to hormonal imbalance include:
- Estrogen dominance: changes in sleep patterns, changes in weight and appetite, higher perceived stress, slowed metabolism
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): infertility, weight gain, higher risk for diabetes, acne, abnormal hair growth
- Low estrogen: low sex drive, reproductive problems, menstrual irregularity, changes in mood
- Hypothyroidism: slowed metabolism, weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, digestive issues, irregular periods
- Low testosterone: erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, weight gain, fatigue, mood-related problems
- Hyperthyroidism & Grave’s disease: anxiety, thinning hair, weight loss, IBS, trouble sleeping, irregular heartbeats
- Diabetes: weight gain, nerve damage (neuropathy), higher risk for vision loss, fatigue, trouble breathing, dry mouth, skin problems
- Adrenal fatigue: fatigue, muscle aches, and pains, anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, brain fog, reproductive problems
Risk factors for hormone imbalance:
1 – Exposure to toxicity (such as pesticides, environmental toxins, cigarettes, excessive alcohol, viruses and harmful chemicals)
2 – Irregular sleep patterns
3 – Genetic susceptibility
4 – Obesity
5 – High levels of inflammation (through stress, lifestyle, and diet)
What are some of the things you can do naturally to balance your hormones?
1 – Ensure that you have a regular and habitual sleep routine and pattern. A lack of sleep can be one of the worst habits contributing to a hormone imbalance. Why? Because your hormones work on a schedule! For example, cortisol, the primary “stress hormone,” is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from their sympathetic fight-or-flight stress response.
2 – Reduce exposure to toxins. Certain toxins are more disruptive to the endocrine system than others. Lessen your exposure to BPA and phthalates found in plastics and some skin care products, and of course, avoid lead and mercury as much as possible. For a complete list, visit EWG for their Dirty Dozen list of Endocrine Disruptors
3 – Eat clean. Eat foods that will nourish you, not add to or amplify an imbalance. Avoid processed foods, learn which foods have the most pesticides and add detoxifying foods to your diet.
Here are 5 Ways to Boost Your Hormones through dietary changes:
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